Perilous Pipes is an awesome puzzle with a beautiful set of manipulatives. For kindergarten and grade 1 students I show a solution and ask them to recreate it. This is a highly valuable activity akin to following lego instructions to build something, but a little bit more focussed on curricular skills like counting.
For grade 2 on, I start with the previously mentioned activity, but then ask them to see how many pipes they can place. The objective is not to place all the pipes – as this is not a realistic goal for most of the children.
I like these physical puzzles for use in the classroom where collaboration in pairs is to be encouraged. Compared to excellent puzzle apps on mobile devices, all these physical puzzles are expensive, so the only reason to purchase them is because you believe in social problem solving. I do.